After clearing out unused speedboats, the military formally banned any boat operator from trailering their watercraft on land at Bali Hai Pier and told them to pay for their own parking.
Maj. Gen. Yutachai Tiernthong, commander of the 14th Military Circle, said Oct. 13 that any remaining craft must be removed by the end of October. Those that aren’t will be confiscated, he said.
Yutachai said that not only was the illegal parking considered encroachment on public land, it contributes to traffic congestion and parking shortages.
Former city councilman Sanit Boonmachai, who heads the Tour Boat Association of Pattaya, said vendors have discussed the issue and are willing to cooperate. However, the government or military must organize another area for them to idle their watercraft, he maintained.
Sanit also doubted there was available space to house the estimated 300 boats that had been clogging up streets around Bali Hai. He said moving them to a remote area would be a hardship on vendors.
He suggested that some of the boats be left alone, but that they could be removed as necessary during major festivals or events.
The army was having none of it.
Col. Popanan Luangpanuwut, the army base’s deputy commander, said Sanit’s group members were violating the law and using public land for private gain.
He said relocating private speedboats was not the responsibility of the military or government and that if vendors are able to afford such expensive boats, they can certainly pay for places to keep them legally.
Remove the boats by month end, Popanan told Sanit, adding there would be no exceptions allowed.